Sacajawea Respects the Elders

Scene from Sacajawea, The Windcatcher 
After a harrowing trek, near-starvation and dangerous conditions, the explorers finally make it across the treacherous mountains led by Old Toby, the Shoshoni guide. Their clothes are rotting off their backs – their moccasins worn through, and the lack of food and water has made them weak and vulnerable. But then, their guide sees the crooked tree trunk, affirming the trail. He points ahead… and they continue to trudge onward on a worn path through the trees until they arrive at an abandoned Indian village.

Sacajawea and the men are exhausted, the baby is hungry and crying. A large pack of wild dogs yelp and run around them, pulling at their clothes, sniffing the packs…

Then, without warning, a band of Nez Perce warriors with spears raised, rush the group, threatening to kill them, grabbing for their guns – intensity rises. But, an elder woman of the tribe, Watkuweis, a shaman, comes forward, wielding authority…. She protects the explorers, rattling the animal sculls on her staff and singing a high-pitched trill.

“Watkuweis” by Marcia K. Moore

In that moment, not only does the woman see Sacajawea with her eyes – she also sees her heart through a greater vision. Watkuweis touches Sacajawea’s chest and says, “Your spirit is weak…”

We know something about Sacajawea and her people, through her respect for her elders – both for her chief, Cameahwait, and the shaman. As the story goes, Sacajawea had just faced a devastating disappointment and loss that forced her to arrive at this place.

But the shaman already knew Sacajawea was coming, and she had a prophesy for her that would change her life. Though it was cryptic and seemed filled with the unknown in this moment – by the end of the story, the one thing Sacajawea cherished the most, would be protected by it.

Being shown the vision of her own hurting spirit gave Sacajawea determination, as Watkuweis told her, “Your hurt will lead you to another.” The elder woman saw far beyond where Sacajawea was in that moment – and Sacajawea honored the elder by trusting her wisdom without hesitation, despite the darkness of her circumstances.

What would life be like without the darkness?
The darkness gives us depth perception, choice and opportunity.
Without darkness, we could not, nor would not,
appreciate the light.
Be thankful and grateful in all things.

And keep walking…*

These words came from our journey to tell the story of Sacajawea. The depth of her sorrow, the sadness and disappointment formed a great lesson for each of us. She saw through transparent vision, because of her respect for her elders, to carry-on, to be more than what she felt, to look past what her immediate situation was showing her. Therefore, we remember this young Shoshoni girl, and it is one reason we believe, and know, her story WILL be shared, in the perfect timing, with the entire world.

*From the book, “Awakening” the lessons learned from Sacajawea and our journey.

Transparent Belief

Scene Description from Sacajawea, the Windcatcher: 
It is summer, 1805. Sacajawea and the men are searching for the Shoshoni village so they can trade for the horses they need to cross the mountains. Though Sacajawea has been away for four years, she remembers the landscapes, the wild vegetables growing in the meadows, the summer rains. She also remembers the loss of her family, the harsh realities of her life and starvation while her people waited for the buffalo to return. Sacajawea does not forget her teachings and despite the hard memories, she stays true to her belief.

The men pull and push the canoes up the rushing river. And, sometimes they drag the boats, loaded with their baggage, through the rocky dirt because the water is just a trickle. They push on, as they are ordered to do by the captains…

Beaver Head art 2One day, Sacajawea literally jumps for joy when she recognizes Beaver’s Head rock shooting up from the plains. They are near the summer camp of her people! The men see this as, “getting closer to the horses they need.” While Sacajawea sees it in a much deeper way. Through her transparent belief, she claims whatever answers are before her because she knows everything comes from the Great Father…

Sacajawea’s people relied on their Belief to exist. Their circumstance was not always easy. They followed the buffalo for their food, they relied on a shelter of logs and animal skins for their protection, they trusted that the river would keep flowing and the sun would come up and the vegetables would grow in the summer. Sometimes, the things beyond their control caused hunger, sacrifice and loss… They did not always have immediate answers – but their prayers never stopped. They were not distracted by false security like today, for their experiences were on the edge of fear, yet they chose to trust Creator’s brilliant Light.

That is where we must go in our own life. Are we truly happy only when we have enough to eat? Would we share the shirt off our back, even if it meant we would be cold? Would we be willing to go “without” to lift someone else? And, if we have nothing, are we angry, are we fearful, are we driven to take matters into our own hands and hurt someone or ourselves? It is easy to believe when life is easy. But that is not Transparent Belief. The irony of Truth is: When we feel we have nothing, we have an opportunity to remember we actually have everything.

Sacajawea was taught to rely on her instincts and believe her needs would be taken care of because she Loved her Creator — even when all seemed lost. The men of the expedition were from a different world. Sacajawea took the opportunity to show them something else…

Let us pray together in gratitude that Sacajawea’s story will soon be told to a world that needs to hear it. For we know, through transparent belief, the answers we seek are already here!